OneStepStories-JerryMAfter years of not taking care of myself and otherwise abusing myself by smoking, drinking, overeating, I decided it was time to make drastic changes.

Because of the way I was living, when I was 50 years old, I had a need for a major open heart surgery operation. Fortunately, I never had a heart attack as they found 4 blocked arteries on a routine test. They scheduled an emergency surgery for the next day to replace the blocked arteries. Because of my constant traveling I never paid much attention to my diet or seeking medical attention which ended up causing me many health issues. When they initially found the problem with my heart, I had known something was wrong for a while. I wasn’t going to have anything done, I had a good life and I was satisfied. Then it dawned on me, it’s not just about me, it’s about my kids and grandkids and family. I decided to follow up and go for the surgery.

But that didn’t alleviate my issues of not taking care of myself. I continued smoking, drinking, overeating. My blood sugar was out of control. About 2 and a half years ago, as I was spending time with my kids, I realized I better start doing something or I wouldn’t be here for my children.

Once when I was visiting my wife and step-daughter, I had a rude awakening while I was visiting. I haven’t drank since. My sugar had stayed high and I was still overeating. About 19 months ago I decided it was time to attempt to stop smoking. I was able to make that change. I used a vaping system and within 2 weeks I was completely off of nicotine. If you don’t want to quit, you are not going to quit. I wanted it so severely, so I think it made it easier to do. I didn’t try for years because I didn’t think I was going to be able to quit. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be.

This January, I had some health issues related to my diabetes. I got an infection in my skin due to my high blood sugar which drove up my body temperature. This time it was severe enough that they talked about amputating one of my legs if we couldn’t get it under control. I fought it for 2 weeks and was able to get the infection under control. Now I needed to get my diabetes under control or the infections would keep coming and I wouldn’t last very long. I started on a stronger diabetes regimen to help get my sugar down to a controllable level. I was always afraid of taking the shots but it is much easier than I thought. A lot of it has to do with the people I am working with and how much they care. Whirlpool strongly promotes a healthy lifestyle. Between my family and Whirlpool, they have helped me make these healthy changes. Sitting here today make me realize I should have done these things along time ago. I am happier, more content, people around me are happier.

My peers are always concerned with my health, helping me, giving me advice. My supervisors and managers are constantly concerned with my health and asking questions, telling me I need to get involved with my health coach. My health coach is always listening and asking questions. The people around me everyday of my life make all the difference. I will always be grateful for all the people here for all they do and the concern that they show. I feel like I have more of a purpose in life other than just myself. There are 4 people I really want to thank, my son David, my friend David, my friend/coworker Brenda, and my health coach Hannah. Those people made this transition in my life a lot easier.

Make the changes you need to make before it’s too late. Do it earlier in life than I did and give yourself more of a chance. Don’t be afraid and don’t be so private in your life, share with your friends.

Jerry McBride, Marion, OH

March 28, 2016